Salesforce integration projects are becoming ever more frequent as APIs are increasingly more accessible to consume from source systems. This is relevant to business teams because it can enhance functionality significantly and improve their business processes. However, integrations between two or more systems are always complex.
The role of Business Analysts in software development projects can contribute significantly to ensuring all stakeholders and teams understand the breadth of the implementation at hand. As a Business Analyst, it is important to know how to capture these requirements meaningfully for the business to be confident going forward and for the development team to design and implement the ask with clear expectations.
How should a Business Analyst start to map requirements when an integration is involved?
If User Stories are the accepted format for requirement delivery, the acceptance criteria should always outline “what” is to be achieved and not the “how.” For example, integrating via MuleSoft to receive and display read-only data in a Custom Object should be handled by identifying the following:
- Users that can see the data.
- Where the data can be seen.
- When the data should be seen.
- Any data retrieval failures and what should happen (i.e., show this error message).
The technical team must provide all other requirements with respect to API names, data type conversions within MuleSoft, data loading, and performance. Business Analysts can, however, assist with providing a list of fields the business needs, outlining the expected field name, data type, format, restrictions, or any behavior that can be used in a Data Mapping document.
Always ensure to read through the technical documentation and understand the architecture. This must align with business requirements and serve as a checkpoint if both teams have understood each other.
What else does a Business Analyst need to consider?
Three additional aspects haven’t been mentioned that are needed for the success of an integration project:
- A picture is worth a thousand words. UX designs and mockups are sometimes needed if the integration entails a custom flow in Salesforce or if the data received and subsequent behavior are complex. Designs add great value for business and technical teams by making expectations more concrete and less ambiguous.
- Request at the earliest opportunity any test data that needs to be created. This can cause delays in project testing plans and releases since integrations involve dependencies on other teams.
- Know integration terms like payload, API, synchronous and asynchronous integrations, HTTPs endpoints, REST, etc. This aids in both relaying the business requirements to the technical team and understanding technical requirements that might impact behavior in Salesforce.
Overall, Business Analysts add significant value to integration projects by bringing forth desired business processes and Salesforce knowledge with an understanding of how integrations are architectures, enabling a more comprehensive solution for the teams involved.
It is possible for a Business Analyst to have a “format” on how to tackle an integration project. However, this comes with experience as the nature of integration projects becomes more familiar with time, making it easier to plan and execute documentation for the project needs.
If you’re interested in BA content, check out our blog, Mastering User Acceptance Testing: A Step-by-step Guide for Business Analysts.